I figure that, once in their life, everyone has something happen to them that you wouldn’t expect to happen because the odds are so absurdly against it. For a few its winning Powerball, for others its being struck by lightning, or striking oil with a gardening hoe.

Well, mine apparently happened this month. At work, my department has quarterly ‘team meetings’ where we meet outside of the office somewhere to try and connect as human beings instead of worker drones. Its a really nice thing they do. Last quarter we went to Austin’s Park and Pizza, and this quarter we went to Travis Lake. We rented a party barge, and cruised around the lake and parked next to an island. One of the few places left in the lake that wasn’t too shallow for swimming and jumping in. We had food and drink on the boat while driving around the lake, so when we stopped at the swimming hole, we were ready to jump in. I was eager to christen the slide off the back of the barge, so I was first in the water. Once I was in the water, I swam over by the island, and started checking for underwater rocks to see if it was safe to jump from the island. I swam down about 15 feet and gave up in most places. It was perfect for jumping in. I had been swimming for 15-20 minutes before my colleague, Richard, asked me, “hey mate! where’s your phone?”

I should back up… I was on call this week, so I brought my cell phone with me on the boat. When I changed into my trunks, I put the cell phone into my bag. There was an issue being dealt with, and with the loud radio on the boat, I was worried I wouldn’t hear my phone if it range, so I picked it up. At one point, I went to the top deck to take a phone call (it was quieter up their), and got off the phone about the time we anchored. Because I was upstairs, I was right next to this neat little water slide, which immediately took all my focus. I had forgotten all about work and was focused on having fun. Exactly the point of the outing!

So, I didn’t realize I had the phone in my pocket, until Richard had asked about it. I panicked. I checked my pocket, which was empty, then got out of the water to start looking to see if I had absently put it back in my bag. It was about 3 minutes of looking before I was completely convinced it was at the bottom of the lake. I asked our captain how deep it was here, to which he responded, “30 feet.”

I tried to enjoy the rest of the day, but felt rather sick about my mistake. My boss’s boss (I refer to him as ‘grand-boss’ to my wife) kept asking me “have you found it yet?”

When I got back to work the following day, I forwarded the number to my wife’s cell phone, and borrowed her’s for the time being, and I requested a new phone from IT. At this time, for the first time, I was informed about a lovely policy that requires employee’s to pay $450 to replace a lost phone. I was completely shocked. After groaning for a bit, I said I’d pay the replacement fee for this one, but asked if I could get a $25 phone for my next one because I don’t want that sort of responsibility. They then decided to switch me to a new carrier and not charge me for the $450… this time. Lucky me, right?

So they order a new phone, and it comes in late on a Friday. I plan to pick it up the following Monday morning. That weekend, I missed a call from an unknown number while I was talking with someone else. Later that evening, I get this email:

Subject: Lost phone in Lake
Message:
Hi my name is Brian Bayliss. I was scuba diving lake travis a week or so ago and found a cell phone. I let it sit for sometime to dry out and today I turned it on and found that it still works. I called the number on the screen and heard a message for Rachel Rogers photograpy. You can contact me at ….

When I called him, he explained that he found this phone, dried it out, and when he turned it on, called the number on the main screen, which had a voicemail greeting about Rachel Rogers Photography, which he looks up online, and uses the contact form to reach me.

I later met Brian in a parking lot to get the phone. Brian explains that the phone was about 50 feet down where he found it. After a quick inspection, I see that everything is working on it. I’m completely shocked, because Blackberries aren’t known for being particularly robust.

Later the next day, my work shut that phone off due to the new line and my new phone.

So, I guess that is my absurdly unlikely event in my life. What’s yours?